Users do stupid things

No, they don’t.

Twice today I’ve heard the exact phrase or a comment equalling it: users do stupid things.

One instance was in relation to registering scores for the CrossFit Open. The second time relating to storing passwords on Post-It Notes.

Sure, it’s easy to say the person was stupid. They should have read the instructions. They should have understood the rules. They should know better.

But let’s understand 2 things:

  1. Every single one of us is guilty of being a “stupid user”.
  2. People simply take the easiest path to completing a task. It’s not their fault the path is wrong or insecure according to someone else’s standards – they just want to complete their task and get on with the day.

So no, I don’t believe there is such a thing as a stupid user.

In every instance, it’s a case of a poorly constructed interface or system, bad policy, or lack of good tooling that allows poor users to select the wrong easy path to completion.

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